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Azimut #35334 155mm M12 update

John Prigent

What you get in a small box is a neat resin upgrade with an etched brass fret  and a decent instruction sheet which leaves nothing to be wondered about.    There's a complete replacement gun, in front and rear sections and with a new   breech, breechblock, levers and sight with its mount.  All nicely done,   though my front barrel has a mould mismatch underneath which will need   filling and filing to get a true round section.  I'm not certain how much use   these parts will be as they don't seem to offer much improvement over the   Academy equivalents and the opportunity has not been taken to provide a   correct breech interior with interrupted screw threads to match the breech   block.

Under this goes a complete gun mount and barrel slide, and here there's a  definite advantage to Azimut as the mount is bulkier and captures the  appearance of the real one.  On the debit side, the slide has a brute of a  casting block all along its underside which will be a pain to remove cleanly  enough to leave a smooth surface.   A new front part for the lower fixed mount  is provided, together with a replacement gunshield which looks rather good.   Oddly enough, although the instruction sheet indicates etched brass  handwheels there are none in the set.

Also included in resin are new guncrew seat backs and squabs, four shells,  four charges without their transport tubes, and two drivers' vision port  covers (my kit only included one).  I can't see the advantage of those post  covers, as they have no interior detail so you'll have to mock up their  insides anyway.

The brass fret is nice, with the main needs covered.  Grilles for the engine  deck, headlamp guards, some tool brackets, and those vertical stiffeners that   go on the engine deck.  Also the rather important section of treadplate that   covers the gap between the hull rear and the spade to stop the crew falling   through the gap!

On the whole I think modellers will be better served by working on the   Academy gun parts to improve them and using the Eduard etched set.  But this   upgrade does avoid the need to eliminate the long joints of the gun barrel,   so if those are a bugbear for you and you don't want a "full" etched set this  one will fill the bill.

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